Friday, 27 February 2009

Crunch time

There's only so long a journalist can sit around waiting for the PR mavens at Walkers to realise that her blog is called "Secrets from the Squirrel" (and kindly put a complimentary packet of their new Cajun Squirrel flavour crisps in the post) before she has to take matters into her own hands.

Well, readers I regret to inform you that either the snack manufacturer's lame "do us a flavour" campaign is sadly lacking in intelligent e-marketing strategies, or this credit crunch is really biting.

Whatever the cause, the effect is the same, and it has left a nasty taste in Secrets from the Squirrel's mouth.

In order to blog about this naff publicity stunt I have had put my hand in my own pocket and pay 60p for a bag.

And frankly, I'm ashamed of myself - on many levels. For a start I'd have been better off buying Razzle for the dirty looks carrying a bag Cajun Squirrel afforded me. Secondly, I'm doing what the PR people want me to do. Thirdly, Charlie Booker has already written the definitive critique on the Cajun Squirrel abomination.

Self-loathing aside, I have bought said snack, eaten it and arrived at an opinion: It is horrible.

On first whiff they smell like Tesco value steak crisps, burnt toast and paprika - it turns out that's what they taste like too, to begin with. But then after a moment they start to burn the back of the throat in an offensive synthetic chilli manner.

The overall effect is best likened to a hangover where you wake up realising you didn't brush your teeth before you passed out and the last thing you ate was a dicey Indian. Less Louisiana, more "where is the nearest loo - I think I'm going to be sick."

Of course, I'm being melodramatic, the flavour actually owes its unique, um, taste to milk lactose, salt, sugar, flavourings, dried onion, dried garlic, dried lemon juice (is that even possible?), cardamon, ginger, coriander, chilli, cumin, oregano, thyme, allspice, and parsley.

But far more importantly, squirrel lovers: "Thankfully no squirrels were harmed in the making of this crisp!"

Although truth be told, if there is some super-strain of mutant Cajun kick ass squirrel then this blog would love nothing better for them to be hunted down and turned into crisps. We've got enough on our plate with the advance of the greys to even contemplate a war on two fronts.

So to conclude, Secrets from the Squirrel has bravely taste tested these crisps on your behalf - just in case in a moment of petrol station weakness you were ever tempted to buy a bag while no one was looking - and has this message for you all: Don't Do It.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Five seconds of fame

Geoff has become a superstar overnight, and because his legal battle has become national news there is a need for expert comment and analysis.

Which is obviously why Jeremy Vine's radio 2 people called today and asked me to appear on the show.

Here's my chat with the very charming Jeremy Vine (it starts at the 34min mark)

I spent the rest of the day taking media inquiries on Geoff's behalf - he was tired after a 4am start for GMTV, you see.

So far, after gracing the front page of this morning's Metro Geoff has lined up appearances on Trisha, featured on the Vine show and has offers on the table from two Merseyside radio stations and a Brazilian TV network. His facebook group claims that his story has spread as far as Australia.

Frankly if Geoff carries on like this I won't be able to hack the pace.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Press gang

The gallery of North Sefton Magistrates was heaving with hacks today because it was time for Geoff Dornan, Ormskirk's OAP rollerblader, to learn his fate.
Not since Stevie G got himself mixed up in a bar brawl has Southport seen so many film crews outside the court room.
I counted at least 10 journalists on the press bench taking notes - despite this Geoff nodded off during proceedings, I imagine all that skating would make you sleepy.
Anyway it didn't end well for Geoff, but he's vowing to appeal, so the media circus will reconvene at Liverpool Crown Court in the near future no doubt.
I do hope someone with a sense of humour will list Gerrard and Dornan for the same day - just to see if Geoff can pull in a bigger crowd than the Anfield ace.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Football is my church

As another manager is sacrificed at the altar of the beautiful game there's no denying football is the new religion.

Premiership players are gods, chants replace hymns and the cathedral has been abandoned in favour of the home ground.

Worship is held on match days, Kevin Keegan is not the Messiah, he's a very naughty boy, and Alex Ferguson is probably the pope.

Phil "the sacrificial lamb" Scolari has found this out the hard way thanks to Roman Abramovich's very convincing turn as Pontius Pilate.

Interesting that at a time when everyone else is apologising - bankers, the BBC, hell even Barack Obama - Scolari was out on his ear before he could even begin to grovel.

That's because the football gods are merciless - think Old Testament meets Rangers fans and you get the idea.

Failure demands action, not words - after all the Champions League is far more important than the global banking crisis, and so it is fitting that the Chelsea manger has been dealt a larger serving of public humiliation in his ruthless execution than Mssrs Goodwin, Hornby, Stevenson and McKillop were delivered by the select-committee.

The good news for Big Phil is that there's likely to be a second coming with another high profile job in top flight football almost a guarantee before the month's out.